Support for Mellissa Ifill’s persistence in bringing UG’s concerns into the public domain

Dear Editor,

I faithfully endorse the submission made in the Sunday Stabroek of September 15 by Dr Mellissa Ifill, Vice-President of the University of Guyana Senior Staff Association.  My endorsement is not meant as a condemnation of Vice-Chancellor Joseph Opadeyi, but as a gesture of support for Dr Ifill’s persistence in bringing the concerns of our sole national university into the public domain where they properly belong.

Unfortunately, the recent vulgar exposure of ‘wrongdoing’ in the Bursary and the firing of two staff have twisted the spirit of public discourse into a tool for misuse by an uncaring regime, and has provided scapegoats for others within the university body who continue to hold a masked and stony silence in the face of a multiplicity of unbelievable assaults on intellectual freedom and genuine collegiality.

My experience as a full-time lecturer at the University of Guyana since 2007 (I worked at UG part-time in the 1980s) has been a baptism into what tends dangerously to a be a culture of impatience to encourage openness and full participation.  We seem afraid to take the necessary risks involved in distending the form in order that the palpable substance of variety and idiosyncrasy come to term.  Dr Opadeyi, perhaps, simply took the path of least resistance as he struggled to adapt himself to the sterile tragedy that the University of Guyana has become.

For those of us whose memory has not completely withered away, Dr Carrington, we might recall, had begun to urge us along with him on that slow and painful journey towards an oasis of consensus building at UG.  Many of us were grateful for this new guide, and were gaining courage to go the distance.  We understood that to hesitate on such parched earth was to court certain death.  I wonder what he might advise us now as he waters his humble garden in little Trinidad.

Yours faithfully,
Charlene Wilkinson

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